Working from home sounds like a dream… until you actually start to do it. Quickly, all the issues with this seemingly ideal situation arise: lack of routine, ease of slacking off, myriad distractions, and unclear work-life boundaries. The truth of the matter is that many of us are finding ourselves - maybe for the first time ever - working from home as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. To help you be successful in this new set up, I’ve compiled a list of “rules” I’ve created for myself over years of working positions that are set up as WFH (work from home). I truly hope they are of use to you as you navigate this new world.
One of the hardest parts of working at home is that your work can quickly begin to consume you. Setting up a specific workspace allows you to more easily walk away from your work at the end of the day.
If possible, set up in an infrequently used room in your house -- the guest room can be great as you don’t already use it for yourself on a regular basis. Avoid your own bedroom at all costs, as you want that space to remain restful and free of stress for yourself. If you have to use the living room or kitchen, choose one specific space and have it set up to where you can tuck away your work items each evening; out of sight means out of mind.
Most of us are also used to a 3rd party coming in and cleaning our workspace between days. You are now that 3rd party. Start each day fresh by tidying either each evening or morning.
Set a time by which you’ll wake up every morning (8 at the latest), and hold yourself to it. From there, outline how the other hours of your day will be spent. It’s most helpful if you outline your day in chunks as opposed to by the hour. From personal experience, I can say that hourly goals are incredibly hard to keep and therefore set you up to feel like a failure. Consider the following idea instead:
This is obviously a very basic schedule, but you can customize it for yourself. Keep in mind that you are then in charge of holding yourself accountable to these time limits and making sure that you actually stick to the schedule. You might have to tweak it a bit after you get a few days into the process, but ultimately this can be a great way of planning and moving through your day.
So many resources are rapidly becoming available as our world shifts to being online; know what resources are out there that might help you in your position. Google Meet (a video conferencing platform) recently made its pro features free until July. If you aren’t already using the collaborative editing features of Google Docs, be sure to check that out as it allows you and your teammates to collaborate on the same document at the same time.
You might find yourself missing some of the social interaction that happens in the workplace: mini chats with colleagues about their weekend plans, or lunch break conversations about a project idea. You can still do that virtually, though. Utilize chat apps, video conferencing, and the good ol’ telephone to remain in touch with your colleagues. You can even organize time for chatting at the start / end of your virtual meetings by opening / closing with an ice breaker.
No matter how introverted you / your colleagues might be, we will all need space to casually chat and interact amidst this chaos.
Last of all, but certainly not least, you need to keep realistic expectations of yourself / your colleagues during this time. While the internet does allow a great deal of work to be done, there are many things that we simply cannot do online. Recognize that you will have to drop some of your expectations in this regard - potentially postponing or even cancelling some of your projects.
Keep in mind, also, that some people are being quite seriously affected by COVID-19. While you might be young and healthy and not at risk, many others are not so lucky. Therefore, what is an inconvenience to you is a very serious concern for them. Try to respect each person’s response and feelings surrounding this epidemic by listening without judgement.
Brooke is a contributing author for Tada Rugs. Tada Rugs is a 5x7 yoga mat disguised as an artistic area rug that you never have to put away. Tada is short for tadasana, or mountain pose, and our own backyard in the San Juan Mountains of Durango, Colorado is where we find our inspiration. Check out our new designs, enter for a chance to win a new Tada Rug, and be sure to follow us for deals and insider specials! Like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, or contact us through our website! Tie a room together and bring your practice home.
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